10 tips to navigating through these painful times.
If you know me at all, then you know I'm not a very big fan of absolute words such as always/never, good/bad, or the one size fits all. I tend to speak from most often, rarely, I can't imagine doing rather than say I will always do this or I will never do that.
With that said, 2020 has been painful year for the vast majority of us, certainly if you are empathetic to the feelings and needs of others. I've wanted to curl up and hide from the world. How can I support people embrace life when life seems to be fraught with health concerns, economic concerns, environmental concerns, and political concerns. My heart aches with the struggles of the world, friends losing LOVED ones from COVID, small businesses closing, relationships deteriorating, and the national if not global divisiveness.
Again, how can I help with what's happening in the world? By remembering to have a positive focus. I focus on three things:
1. I remember that we aren't dealing with our 'normal' friends, family, and colleagues. We are dealing with our friends, family, and colleagues (and ourselves) who are stressed to the max due to such uncertainty in their lives. So, I can find compassion there for all of us.
2. I focus on the helpers that step forward during times of crisis and there are SO MANY helpers that it warms my heart. I want to be a helper too.
3. I go back to my LOVE, kindness, compassion, and peace practices.
Moving forward, I invite you to play with any of the below 10 tips to help shift your focus from pain to peace:
1. Focus on what you CAN control rather than what you can't. We often look at worldly issues and get so overwhelmed that it paralyzes us in fear. Focus today on something small you CAN do that will alleviate some of the pain.
2. B R E A T H E! When you find yourself letting fear take control, stop and BREATHE. Take some slow deep breaths as we tend to constrict our breathing when we are stressed and the deep breaths will give your body much needed oxygen to help recenter you.
3. Step into gratitude. Write a daily list of things you are grateful for from the smallest things to the largest. If you are going through a really hard time, go back to things many of us take for granted such as being grateful for a warm bed to sleep in, that you are breathing on your own.
4. Say THANK YOU often. Go through your day and see how many times you can say THANK YOU. Say it to those who help you and say it to yourself. Say it in your head and say it outloud. Saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU is one of my practices to shift my energy back to calm and peace.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."- Meister Eckhart
5. Create a positive affirmation. I choose peace now. I choose to see things differently. I am leading my life with LOVE. I am appreciated, valued, safe, and secure. Create one that feels good to you. Say it to yourself. Repeat it outloud. Write it down and place it somewhere that you will see throughout the day.
6. Still your mind (meditate). Focusing on your breath is a way to still your mind. Repeating THANK YOU is a way to still your mind. Focused coloring is a way to still your mind. Sitting quietly in meditation is a way to still your mind. Listening to a guided meditation is a way to still your mind.
7. Listen to upbeat music. I LOVE music and I have different playlists to pull from depending on my mood. I usually start my morning with a more chill playlist and then I go into my upbeat list. (My spotify high vibe playlist).
8. Move your body. Go for a walk. Get up and dance. Practice yoga. Do something to get the stuck energy in your body moving. Make sure to have fun and play throughout the day.
9. Remember, often painful experiences provide great growth opportunities. We seem to learn and grow more from our hardships than our ease. While you probably haven't experienced a pandemic before, you've most likely experienced other hard times in your life that once over, you could see some benefit from going through it. Focus on what good, and there is usually some good in most experiences, has come out of this time of heartache and fear in your life. It has been beneficial for nature for one. It's allowed people to slow down and take notice of what is important and not important in their lives. Pay attention to what IS working for you right now while you are moving through what isn't working for you.
10. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF! Guess what? It's OKAY to be afraid. My world centers around LOVE, kindness, compassion, and peace, and I still get scared. I still get frustrated. I still get worried. I just move out of it far quicker because I am diligent with my kindness practice. I pay attention to how I feel, and if it doesn't feel good, I'm gentle with myself (mostly) and focus on feeling a little bit better.
Mostly, my wish for you this week is to realize that every day you are given the opportunity to offer a little more LOVE to yourself and others, a little more kindness to yourself and others, a little more compassion to yourself and others, and to bring a little more peace into your life and for others. Let go of healing the world and focus on being LOVING, kind, compassionate, and peaceful in your world. Taking care of your part WILL help heal the world.
Until next time, please know that I am navigating along beside you and I am here to help.
I honor my feelings and move forward with LOVE as my guide.
Words to LOVE by:
"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for LOVE and wisdom."
"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave." - Mary Tyler Moore
"Pain is inevitable: suffering is optional." - Haruki Murakami